Just a week after the Delta Marine Madrid Cup Final, Celtic and Spurs once again battled it out at the Gilbertson Park on a wet and windy Monday night.
Spurs were forced into 7 changes to their cup final starting 11 with only Grant Wood, Sam Goudie, Nathan McDonald and Ronan Grant keeping their spots while Celtic altered three.
Such is the strength in depth of the Spurs squad, their starting team was still very strong and, with the wind at their backs, dominated the opening 15 minutes.
Sam Maver was the main man in attack and forced an early save out of Keane Haynes in the Celtic goal, who tipped the ball past the right hand post.
Maver wasn’t to be denied 5 minutes later however as the forward crashed home a freekick from the edge of the Celtic penalty area to open the scoring.
It was nearly 2-0 soon after when Ryan Thomason had a pop from 30 yards but the ball flew agonisingly wide of the post.
After struggling early on, Celtic eventually got their foot on the ball and young Kennedy Moar was beginning to see more of the ball down Celtic’s left hand side. A through ball from Shane Odie carved open the Spurs defence but Goudie got back to tackle Brendan Johnson when the forward looked to take the shot on.
Neither team created an awful lot before half time and Celtic were happy to go into the break at just 1-0, knowing they had the wind advantage in the second half.
The second period started off fairly scrappy and Celtic only troubled Wood from range. First Moar and then Clubb tested the hands of the Spurs goalie with Odie unfortunate not to get the ball under control from the rebound of the latter.
With Celtic pushing for the equaliser, they were caught at the other end allowing Spurs to double their lead. A mazy run from Maver created the opening for Connor Grant to deftly flick the ball over Haynes and into the Celtic net.
The home side continued to huff and puff without creating much and Spurs were always a threat on the counter attack with the pace of Grant and Maver.
Celtic threw on substitutes Matthew Murray and Jamie Cole for the injured Saul Sim and Johnson and there was an immediate impact. Left-back and former Spurs player Ryan Watt floated in a lovely free-kick which was met at the near post by Murray who flicked the ball into the far bottom corner to set up a tense finish.
With the clock ticking, it was Spurs that had the best chance to add a third when Moar was unfortunate to trip Brandon Talukder in the box. Up stepped Ryan Thomason but his spot kick came back off the post and Grant somehow put the ball into the side netting from the rebound.
That was to be the final action of an exciting game with Celtic now without a win in four and Spurs still neck and neck with Ness at the top of the table.
Best on the night for Celtic was Moar and Murray while Grant and Maver posed the biggest threat for the away side.
Celtic Team: K Haynes, L Spence, R Smith, J Bradley, R Watt, S Odie, J Clubb, C Regan, B Johnson (J Cole), S Sim (M Murray), K Moar